Transition Whatcom

A few months back a discussion was debated in the larger Transition Movement on applying the term “sacred” to the ongoing attempt. I smiled and thought of Gregory Bateson ( or should I say Alfred Korzybski ) statement: The name is not the thing named. After allowing my soul to digest the dire predictions from Bill Mckibben’s eaarth I began to wonder if time would afford us the opportunity to adapt or would something more ominous dictate the new rules of day to day living. The latter being a stronger motivator for myself to “get on with it”  yet I acknowledge it’s the former reality we go to sleep in and wake up to, for now.

As the tragic events unfold in Japan, it becomes hard for me to appreciate deliberations of selecting the next economic model. What do you think the going rate should be for a bottle of water for our brothers and sisters in their time of need? I’m sure they would pay it. If you factor in the initial capitol outlay, shipping cost, and labor, I expect a person could still garnish a handsome profit on their investment.

As for partnering with local governments/corporations, would you want to bet your life on the factual honesty being distributed with regards to food safety or evacuation distances?

Perhaps our survival relies less on what we bring with us from a world we claim to be distancing ourselves from, and more on what we become willing to let go of i.e. racism, sexism, ageism, and all the benefits realized from manifest destiny ( both past and present versions ). This list could certainly be expanded upon and still may not be the silver bullet in our time of need, but it might move us closer to an appropriate use of the term “sacred” to the ongoing attempt of Transition.

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Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on April 17, 2011 at 10:24am

What kind of intellectual landscape will it take to support that mental environment? Is that the point you're moving towards as a sacred transition?



Thank you for continuing the discourse. I feel the need to correct a statement I made in my April 5th post with regards to being angry. It would be more precise to have said I was embarrassed and saddened, anger is a simple tool of obfuscation, a thin veil at best.

The more I say on these matters of consciousness or sacredness, the more reluctant I am to say more. For one, to achieve the “morality” I’m describing where a person could acknowledge our connectedness to one another on a deep enough level, so as to achieve and provide sustainable results, is a discovery which arises from the inside of ones essence. I would not want to unintentionally contribute some sort of delay in another’s progress. Secondly, just in case it’s not glaringly obvious, I have not arrived to this state of bliss to date, and would prefer not to be perceived indicting myself with a hypocritical stance. I’m laughing because I know I’m going to keep on writing. Please bare with me.

I sometimes think of the used car salesman who puts a fish on his sign of business. It comes across as perverting a higher logical type with the expressed intent of benefiting the lower. Our currency is inscribed with the words “ in God we trust “. A rather high bar for something losing so much of its value as of late. It’s these sorts of disconnects I’m suggesting we address if Transition is to merit being proposed as a viable option of sustainability for our community. I contend for-profit economic models can reasonably be argued to contribute to, as opposed to stopping, runaway feedback with respect to resilience. Replacing one model of this type with another of the same type is not a shift, but a continuance with different expectations. I was greatly impressed to hear Jerry from Transition Goshen say he wouldn’t describe what they do with one another even as bartering, they just give when there’s a need. I heard a similar statement from the Salt Island folks. I can see where a small close community is successful in achieving this exchange, capable of circumventing collapse, but can it be expanded? Can it be duplicated and then link enclaves together? Should we be emphasizing moving are hearts and minds more so than moving our money, in the name of inclusiveness, resilience, and sustainability? Tris Shirley’s recent blog Unfogging the Crystal Ball, the suggestion was made to start with a worst case scenario to benefit the planning process. I very much agree, but addressing the pending events could leave some vulnerable, so examining the logical types one is engaged in may well prove paramount to our planning and to our survival.

Comment by John C Ruth on April 16, 2011 at 12:01pm
Long ago I was told it was a waste of time attempting to subvert an economy that was clearly doomed.  A better use of time was coming up with a replacement, that was more reflective of natural systems.  A task easier said than accomplished.  Framing the logistics of living in a local-global context, is an insanely complex mathamatical construct best left to supercomputers for sorting out.  A technical issue theoretically resolved with the emergence of Z-factor Intercloud platforms to mash-up masses of abstruse environmental data into a meaningful whole.  Defining what that means is the question, National Intel or intelligent nation?  What kind of intellectual landscape will it take to support that mental environment?  Is that the point you're moving towards as a sacred transition?
Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on April 5, 2011 at 9:13am

So as this fool rushes in, it is my sincere desire to not make Gregory roll over in his grave… As you stated, "recursiveness" means a quality of being defined in terms of initial condition is required in addition to the definition. Otherwise...infinite self-reference. I look at the money paid to Frank Luntz by governments and corporations to learn how to frame the debate so as to achieve an audience of hammers in which every problem looks like a nail. If I can convince you my subjective insight is in fact “objective“, I win. If the initial condition is represented by a “just and moral” people in need of land, it would behoove them to insert a document like manifest destiny into their spiritual teachings so as to have “God on their side“, come what may. If it’s enslavement, convincing onlookers the enslavees are a mere three fifths of their enlightened selves. Sam Keen spoke of the role of propaganda during times of war in “Faces of the Enemy”. So after the conquest is over, the slaves are set free, and the enemy has been defeated, now what. How does one tell the story? Fairly? Maybe not. If it was after all, one moral decision after another culminating in establishing this land of the free and home of the brave. The spell can live on and play out on reservations, in ghettos, and on bumper stickers asking, who put our oil under their sand?

A little closer to home: if the DNR’s income source is comprised with a percentage of the harvest, what incentive do they have to accept the laws of gravity with regard to logging on 90 degree slopes? Instead using the term acceptable slides in their forest practice act, only to have peoples homes destroyed months after the checks were cashed. Through the shifting of logical types and exploiting lesser tendencies in human nature we find ourselves in Orwell’s world. And we Transition. Some days more successfully than others, but we replace short term gains with sustainable long term goals. And I commit myself to bump up against my comfort zone, in an attempt to help Transition Whatcom

reflect the cultural diversity of Whatcom County and move forward towards inclusiveness, acceptance, and healing.

Comment by Celt M. Schira on April 4, 2011 at 5:42pm
J.C., if you are old enough to remember the original blue label on a Morton's salt container, the picture showed a girl sprinkling a can of Morton's salt, which had a label showing a girl sprinkling a can of Morton's salt... and presumably, so on infinitely. That self referential quality defines recursive procedures. Bateson often tries to stretch the conceptual framework of computer science to fit the Deep Meaning of Everything, which makes for an awkward fit, in my opinion. In any case "recursiveness" means a quality of being defined in terms of itself. In engineering, computer science and real life, an initial condition is required in addition to the definition. Otherwise, "it's turtles all the way down", infinite self-reference.
Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on April 4, 2011 at 11:11am

Recursiveness is my favorite Bateson word to date. To me, it describes a short circuit of learning by surrounding one self with "experiments" coupled with forgone conclusions. It was this unfortunate phenomenon juxtaposed with the reality and trajectory of the environmental condition we face now(eaarth) I wanted to open up for examination. I meant to suggest for one, that if a for profit economic model has facilitated our predicament maybe we could look beyond "the price of everything and the value of nothing" for sustainable solutions. And to be as transparent as possible I would confess to anger more so than fear towards this detrimental collective choice of ours. Descartes got it wrong, but that fact doesn’t preclude grace as an option.

Comment by John C Ruth on April 2, 2011 at 3:30pm

Ecosystems/synergy aren't framed episodically but thematically.  See everything, fix everything as in see the forest for the trees?  Define "Ecology of Mind" (Batson).  Exchange mechanisms are part of life, if this one doesn't work, replace it with something that creates more order/less chaos (synergy).  N.K.'s "stories", I've got one for you via Word doc.

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on April 1, 2011 at 6:34am
Comment by Heather K on March 31, 2011 at 12:40pm

Sacred    vs    Scared.


Scared    &    Sacred.

Comment by J. C. Walker,Jr. on March 31, 2011 at 10:31am
Episodic Ecological Synergy + Holistic Economic Entropy [ Life/Death>$$$]
Comment by John C Ruth on March 31, 2011 at 8:03am
Holistic Ecological Synergy vs. Episodic Economic Entropy?  Life$ vs. Death$!

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